BUILDING SECTORS

BUILDING SECTORS

From its roots in the development of innovative therapies, Genopole is expanding into the bioeconomy, a growing sector at the biocluster, and computational genomics, an emerging sector that is an enabler of biotech applications. These sectors are being adopted as a biocluster development orientation because they are in harmony with Genopole’s mission, which is to support the entire innovation maturation chain, from targeted training to basic and applied research and on to industrial development.

The computational genomics sector at Genopole

Computational genomics: a vital element for biotechnological growth

Genomics has seen significant developments over the last few years. Applications derived from it are to be found everywhere: in basic sciences to provide fundamental information on the mechanisms of life, in medicine to improve diagnoses and define personalized therapies, in industry to enable bioprocesses for production, in agronomy to better adapt cultures, and in environmental sciences to explore ecosystems.
Wherever it finds itself, genomics generates enormous amounts of data, which need to be stored, encrypted, analyzed and cross-analyzed. This has created a need for novel methodologies in mathematics, informatics, modeling, simulation, automation and data sciences, all of which must be synergistic with biology disciplines. Therein lies the purpose of computational genomics.

This research sector is expanding rapidly, breaking down walls between biology, mathematics and informatics, and giving birth to entirely new concepts. Computational genomics is a factory where complex, multiform data are transformed into useful tools that improve healthcare, industrial production, farming practices and much more.

Major actors at Genopole

On a foundation of solid scientific and technological competencies, a complete computational genomics sector, from basic research to finalized applications, is being built at Genopole, and more largely in Essonne and in France. At the biocluster, the sector benefits from academic bioinformatics (IBISC) and biomathematics (LaMME) labs, multidisciplinary teams (Genoscope, CNRGH, GenHotel), shared use computational platforms (EvryRNA, Micro- Scope), and finally a plethora of businesses developing functional tools for life sciences (Whitelab Genomics, Genosplice Technology, Traaser, IntegraGen, etc.).

An indispensable strategic axis

Consolidating the computational genomics sector is a major objective for the biocluster. That effort is vital for ensuring that biotechs —Genopole’s raison d’être—are able to meet their potential and bring solutions to the full gamut of industrial needs. The issue is nothing less than protecting national independence in the management of genomics data and ensuring the development of innovations at Genopole and in France.

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COMPANIES

INTEGRAGEN BRINGS A COMPUTERIZED THERAPEUTIC GUIDE TO ONCOLOGISTS

Located at Genopole, IntegraGen is a specialist in genomics analyses and molecular diagnostics in oncology and autism. The company has developed a cloud-based bioinformatics tool, called Mercury, for the interpretation of tumor sequencing data. Mercury is used by clinicians as a guide for adapting therapies to the particular genetic profile of a patient. In 2020, IntegraGen announced a contract for the use of Mercury by a major American cancer center. In that same year, IntegraGen also obtained CE marking for Mercury, which will strengthen the Genopole company’s ability to market its application in the European Union.

COMPANIES

GENOSPLICE: A PARTNER FOR SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

Genosplice Technology provides major companies and institutions with expertise in the bioinformatic analysis of genomics data. Notably, in 2020, the Genopole company partnered with the Imagine Institute to reveal the key role of an enzyme in the embryonic development of the neural crest, and with Institut Curie to illustrate a mechanism involved in the control of mammary gland development.

RESEARCH

TOBACCO: DANGEROUS FOR BABIES EVEN BEFORE CONCEPTION?

In an unprecedented work, researchers from the National Center of Human Genomics Research’s (CNRGH/CEA) Epigenetics and Environment Laboratory showed that even when the habit is stopped before pregnancy, smoking nonetheless affects the placenta. Their analysis of placentas from 568 women revealed persistent alterations to DNA methylation. Considering the vital role of the placenta in fetal development, those epigenetic alterations could affect the pregnancy and the infant’s health.

RESEARCH

BIOINFORMATICS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL GENOMICS

A team from Genoscope’s Genomics Metabolics Unit has developed a bioinformatics method able to identify genes from a same species or genes from biologically associated species within complex multi-organism samples. Deploying that methodology in data derived from samples taken during the Tara Oceans expeditions, samples comprising vast numbers of planktonic organisms, the researchers discovered never-before-described organisms and ecological functions. For example, they identified microalgae that produce a key enzyme in the sulfur cycle as well as a symbiotic relationship between a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium and a unicellular alga.

RESEARCH

STUDY OF DISEASES: FROM STATIC VISION TO DYNAMIC SIMULATION

GenHotel at Genopole and the National Institute for Digital Sciences and Technologies (Inria) have developed CaSQ, a computer program for transforming static representations of biological systems into dynamic models. CaSQ is particularly pertinent for the study of diseases, as it gives researchers the ability to test virtually the effects of disturbances (immune response, infection proliferation, etc.) or medications on them. It was employed notably for the large, international, COVID-19 Disease Map project.

RESEARCH

DIATABASE: FIRST-EVER DATABASE ON DIABETES IN FRANCE

In September of 2020, the Study and Research Center for the Intensification of Diabetes Treatment (CERITD) provided the initial test data for Diatabase. As France’s first database on diabetes, Diatabase will aggregate anonymized data from hospitals, private practices, research centers and patients themselves via connected devices. The project’s objectives are to increase knowledge on diabetes and improve treatments & quality of life for the estimated 3.7 million people living with diabetes in France. Diatabase is financed by the Investments for the Future program as part of the Digital Major Challenge.